City Council holds special meeting on dramatic surge in gun violence, shooting deaths

City leaders hold discussion on tackling gun violence

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati has seen 355 shootings in 2020. Its 68 homicides through August place it on track to break the record for most in a year.

City Council held a special meeting Monday, attended by CPD Chief Eliot Isaac, to learn more about what’s driving gun violence.

Isaac called the surge in violence “disheartening.”

“I’ve seen this city come so far,” he said. “I’ve mentioned the work we did in ’17, ’18 and ’19, the significant reductions.”

But in a year marked by a worldwide pandemic and national protests over police brutality, Cincinnati, like so many cities, is also suffering through a dramatic rise in violence.

The city’s shootings are up nearly 50 percent in 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019.

“Our senior citizens are so fearful. They have so many locks on their doors, and when a fire come, trying to get their locks off the door, they’ll burn up,” said Rev. Dock Foster of Ohio State Missionary Baptist Convention.

The pandemic is one of the root causes, according to Isaac.

“People not being at work... You heard the mayor talk about downtown being somewhat empty compared to what it normally would be,” he said.

That void in business, foot traffic and accountability is partly why Mayor John Cranley and Isaac penned a letter to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday asking that he lift the state’s 10 p.m. alcohol ban imposed upon bars and restaurants last month.

“One of the unintended consequences we’ve seen are parties that have popped up that certainly have caught us by surprise,” Isaac explained, “and we have no way to know where they’re going to occur. When people are at bars and restaurants, there’s natural mechanisms that are set up. There’s cameras, there’s security, there’s protocols that people have to follow, and I believe that helps reduce crime.”

Isaac says he has spoken with other police chiefs who agree the alcohol ban is leading to more shootings.

“I’ve been on a couple calls with the governor,” Isaac said. “He’s been very responsive to what police chiefs around the state have had to say, and I think he will give it consideration.”

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